Summary: A sermon on doubt (Material taken from Gary Habermas’ book, Dealing with Doubt)
It is one of the strangest phenomena that you could ever discover that in the Bible, from beginning to ending, there is never any argument, any defense, any presentation, any discussion concerning the existence and the reality and the being of God, never. God is just presented and that’s all; "In the beginning God..."
Never any defense, never any argument, just the presentation of the might, and the wonder, and the glory, and the presence of God. The only exception to that is the brief characterization of the fool who says in his heart, there is no God. Read Psalm 14:1 and Psalm 53:1
In the presentation of God in the Bible, it’s just: “Here He is.” Look at him. Hear him. You have a kind of an instance like that when a man introduces the president of the United States. The more insignificant a man is the longer his introduction. But when you present the president of the United States, it is always this: “Ladies and gentlemen, the president of the United States.” That’s the way the Bible presents God; no argument for His existence; no defense of His reality; no long endless elaboration of whether He is or not, just “this is God.”
Thesis: This morning we are going to discuss doubt: The doubt that most Christians face, how to confront doubt, and the dark side of doubt.
1. The doubt that most Christians face.
A. The doubt I am going to talk about is not the ranting and ravings of atheists. How many atheists do you know? Most people have some kind of concept of a Higher Power that made the universe. The idea of a God is so strongly and deeply impressed upon all men’s hearts, that to believe and say that there is no God is to go against the principles of common nature.
B. Unless one is a University student, we do not deal that much with factual doubt. In other words we are presented with material that “disproves” the basics of our faith. A professor comes in and gives facts and figures on why Jesus Christ did not rise from the dead, how Jesus walked on stumps, Jesus Christ was not the Son of God, how that miracles cannot be true and are figments of one’s imagination, how that the Bible is full of errors, etc. A university student is bombarded by this kind of doubt, academic attacks on his faith. We do not live in a university town and for the most part, we, as people in this congregation, do not deal with doubts about the facts, evidence of our faith.
C. Charles Spurgeon- We believe on evidence. Now the most foolish part of many men’s doubts, is, that they do not doubt on evidence.
D. Listen to what our opening verse says, “The fool says in his heart.” Many times it does not begin in the head, it begins in the heart. This is where most doubt comes from, the heart, not the head.
E. It seems that some people can find many reasons and arguments not to believe. We reason with them and it is to no avail. They come up with more reasons and arguments. With some of these people, we could debate until the Second Coming and it won’t make any difference. Why? The facts are not the problem with these, it is the heart. There hearts looks for reasons not to believe. These people can raise more objections in an hour than someone can answer in 7 years.
F. It is a sobering thought that some who worship God with their lips, as we do this morning, may in their hearts be saying, “no God.”
G. What we are talking about are doubts that arise when we are going through troubling times. It is our emotions that bring about these doubts. It is depression, stress, and heartbreak that cause our hearts to scream out to God, “If you are a good God, then why is this happening to me?”
H. I was looking through a prayer journal that I wrote during my freshman year at college this past week. I saw in my thoughts many joyful emotions suddenly crushed. My first semester at college was wonderful. My second semester at college was miserable. The first semester was filled with praises and thanksgiving. The second semester was filled with doubts, depression and stress. Under this semester I found the popular question, “Why?”
I. Gary Habermas, where a lot of material of this sermon, said that in his dealings with Christians who experience doubts that 71 % experience emotional doubt.
J. Now when we say this we do not mean to say that emotions are bad. Emotions are natural reactions to the world around us. Jesus experienced emotions. The problem comes about when we let our emotions begin to affect our head.